The voice of the Braves has been silenced. Skip Caray died on Sunday. He was 68, and had spent 33 years calling games for the Braves.
Lots of people around here remember his enthusiasm and excitement calling the 1992 NL Championship Series: “A lotta room in right-center, if he hits one there we can dance in the streets. The 2-1. Swung, line drive left field! One run is in! Here comes Bream! Here's the throw to the plate! He is ... safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! … Braves win!” I have heard that so many times on the radio or TV over the years that it is etched in my mind. And his excitement in 1995 was infectious: “Mark gets the sign, the wind and the pitch here it is... swung, fly ball deep left center, Grissom on the run... Yes! Yes! Yes! The Atlanta Braves have given you a championship! Listen to this crowd! A mob scene on the field. Wohlers gets 'em one, two, three. A couple of fans rushing on the field. The Atlanta Braves have brought the first championship to Atlanta!” Those were heady times for Braves fans.
Sure, Caray was around for the good years, but he also kept people interested and entertained during all those bad years of the 70s and 80s. His wit and humor were no doubt a big part of the reason that the Braves became “America’s team”. I like that he didn’t make any pretense of being impartial. He also called it like it happened and wasn’t afraid to say what was on his mind, even when his comments were not flattering to the team.
All that said, the memories that stand out in my mind are from much quieter times. After I moved far away from home after college, all the nights I tuned into the Braves game on TBS just to hear the familiar voices from Atlanta, easing my homesickness and lulling me into an “everything is OK” feeling. It worked every time. Thanks for everything, Skip. May you rest in peace.